How do you read a book?
When I was a child reading just for pleasure I didn't think about how to read; I just picked up the book and read. But as I started to take my writing more seriously, I began to panic (something I do a lot) that maybe I wasn't reading a book correctly. I used to feel stupid trying to discuss children's books with other people. They'd be talking about the layers in the book, the recurring theme that mimicked some mythological story, and the hidden meaning in the fact that the character picked up a banana instead of an apple to eat for a snack. Me, I knew if I liked it and I knew if I didn't but I usually didn't know why. The panic increased. Now I didn't only have to be a good writer, I had to be a good reader too. And of course I was sure that I was doing it wrong.
I like to read like the child I once was. When I am interested, I keep reading, and when I lose interest, I put the book down and don't worry about it anymore. When something strikes me especially well, I do tend to reread it over and over again, trying to understand what it is about that sentence or that paragraph that grabs me. Those are the ones I write in my journal to savor later, but I never quite figure out the why behind them and usually settle for just enjoying their existence.
We are all different kinds of learners. A friend told me once that, "Some people don't need anything more than their instinctive responses; some people are actually stymied by too much critical thought." When she said that, When I read that, my brain sorta clicked and went bingo! The more I think about some things, like process, the less I understand it and the more I begin to doubt what I am doing. I tend to forget sometimes that I am an instinctive writer. The more I go against that process the more trouble I have with the writing. In the rest of my life I have always liked having rules and guidelines to follow so it turns me inside out when I go to write and realize that I can't follow guidelines on how...I just have to do it.
Now I know that there is no right or wrong way to read a book. There is just reading and not reading.
Write on right now.